Meet the world's worst packer: me. I have serious commitment issues when it comes to choosing what I might maybe potentially possibly want to wear three days from now and God forbid there's a major weather change and I'm not prepared for rain, cold, hot, windy or snowy days. It's too much pressure!
This last weekend, I took an overnight trip for a quick jaunt to Denton. "This is easy," I thought. "I'm driving there. We are going to eat Mexican food. I'm going to sleep. Then, I'm going to drive back home. I need three outfits. Eating outfit, sleeping outfit, driving outfit. Done." WRONG! As I began packing my very small, fits-in-a-Southwest-Airlines-overhead-bin roll-y bag, the doubts crept in. "What if I change my mind and I want to wear the peach colored shirt instead of the white shirt. OH! And this black shirt...this would look cute. But maybe I want to wear a dress?" (I wore the black shirt.) "I better take my tennies and workout clothes in case we decide to get up early to go for a walk or run!" (We didn't.) "And what if it gets cold and all I have is these shorts?" (This actually did happen and I was grateful for the jeans and jacket I stuck in last minute.) Anyway, the point is...I NEED HELP!
With school ending and summer vacations/weekend getaways just around the corner, it's time to get serious about packing. I don't know about you, but my summer is already completely booked up with weekend travels. Vacations, weddings, family reunions...I really can't be the only person already dealing with packing anxieties. If we band together, we can power through our commitment issues and end the over-packing dilemma once and for all!
Here are my six tips for summer packing:
- Have an itinerary: Or at least a loose plan. I am a known planner to the point where I can kind of drive people crazy trying to nail down something solid. But, when traveling, especially when on vacation I like to keep things a bit more spontaneous. And that's ok! But it definitely helps to have an idea of what you'll be doing, even if it's not the finalized plan. This will help you get an idea of the essentials that definitely need to be packed.
- Don't be afraid to repeat! This is something I really struggle with. If I know I need two dresses (based on my loose itinerary from tip #1) for evenings out on my week long vacation, I'll take four...just in case. Not necessary. Take only what you need for the two nights and if you spontaneously go out a third time, you can always repeat wear one of the other outfits you already packed. This goes for anything...not just dresses. And most destinations have a laundry service if you're worried about getting your clothes dirty. Problem solved.
- Know where you're going. I always pack for "what if's". A couple of years ago, I went to the beach with my family and literally packed 3-4 outfits for each day. I ended up wearing about three of them because HELLO, I was at the beach and wore my swimsuit 90 percent of the time I was there. Be realistic about where you're going and what you'll be doing. Know the lay of the land and check the weather before going so you're prepared and know what to expect.
- Only pack ONE. If you're worried it might get chilly or that you'll get cold in the car/plane, just pack one jacket/sweater, not one in every color. And SHOES, dear lord, shoes. One pair of sandals, one pair of heels, one pair of sneakers. It's understandable needing 2-3 different types (especially for the ladies), but pick only one of each. Only one. I promise you won't need six pairs of shoes at your destination and you'll regret using up so much space in your bag. Chances are, when you are in the moment you'll be going for comfort and won't really care anyway.
- Pack small. Checking bags at the airport is literally the WORST. And nine times out of 10, I have to check mine because of shampoos, perfumes, etc. All the things that can't carry on. Why would I need to pack my giant shampoo? To avoid spending $2 on a bottle at my destination, I guess. Again, not necessary. Get travel size/carry on size amenities to take with you. Or you can also check your destination to see if there is a store nearby where you can stock up on small amenities to save yourself from having to pack them. It sounds so silly, but this saves so much space! My overnight bathroom bag takes up more space in my bag than two pairs of shoes. And I don't use 75 percent of what I take. Think small. The less you have to lug around, the better.
- HAVE FUN! This is the most important thing to remember when you're packing. You're going on vacation. This is your time to relax, spend time with your friends/family and reconnect with yourself. Don't use this time to focus on the things you might want with you or how you'll look in your Instagram photos. Just focus on getting the most out of the time you have at your destination. It's easy to limit how much you're throwing in your bag when your focused on the time you'll be spending with your loved ones rather than how you're going to look doing it.
I hope you're as excited about your summer adventures as I am about mine. Remember, the most exciting thing about your summer vacation is the opportunity to explore new places, new things, to connect with the world and the people around you. If you come to Denton, don't forget to share all of your adventures in our original, independent town on social media with us, using the hashtag #Dentoning! Safe travels!